So, you have decided to implement a governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) strategy in your business? Well, congratulations first! Implementing a GRC is important to improve overall business security, reduce risk, and stay compliant, It lets you align your IT activities with broader business goals. Having a solid GRC foundation also keeps your customers, company, and employees away from cyber attacks and data breaches while staying compliant with industry standards. However, GRC’s strategy doesn’t come as a one-size-fits-all solution. Any program or strategy you built as part of GRC must suit your broader business goals.
Work with an experienced IT consultation services provider to help you build a balanced GRC strategy for achieving your primary objectives. The objective could be anything – improving your business compliance posture, better risk assessment & management, or creating a secure IT environment.
The article will help you implement the right GRC strategy for your IT business. Read on:
Before we discuss the implementation of the GRC strategy, let’s first spell out some basic definitions just to ensure we’re on the same page.
What is Governance, Risk, and Compliance Exactly?
Governance, Risk, and Compliance, also known as GRC, is a broader term that refers to the processes, strategies, or tactics employed by organizations to manage their internal governance, enterprise risk levels, and compliance with industry standards.
Needless to say, this isn’t the only definition you can use for reference when mapping out GRC strategy. As per the CIO.com, GRC can also be considered a structured way of aligning your business IT activities with your business goals while managing risk and compliance.
GRC frameworks vary widely from one organization to another due to unique business and industry needs. You might find that the balance of governance, risk, and compliance in your strategy is not equal often. This reason is simple: you might be in an industry or position where network security or IT infrastructure planning is more important to you than managing compliance. Having said that, your final GRC framework should have governance, risk, and compliance inter-connected to each other to achieve your key business objective.
Let’s discuss governance, risk management, and compliance components of the GRC framework individually:
Governance refers to the way in which companies are managed and run at the highest levels. It examines the people, processes, mechanisms, policies, and relationships that are used for the smooth running of business operations. The key parts of governance include corporate management, strategy management, and policy management.
Risk management, as the same suggests, is all about identifying diverse risks in a business that impede its routine operations. Identifying risks that can lead to corporate disasters so organizations better prioritize their response measures for minimizing the damage at a lower cost. The key steps in the process include risk identification, assessment, and mitigation. For example, to minimize the threat of cyberattacks or data loss, preparing a solid IT disaster recovery plan that suits your business.
It focuses on the key measures that are crucial to fulfilling a business in order to stay operational in a particular industry. It covers not only information security standards like PCI, DSS, and HIPPA, but process-based standards also. The primary motive here is to avoid the costly penalties imposed by industry regulators.
Governance, Risk, and Compliance Benefits
You should remember that GRC is not about increasing complexity in already overstuffed processes in an organization, it’s more about bringing in clarity for smooth business functionality with minimum blockades. Here are the key benefits of having a GRC framework in place:
Lesser Operational Costs
Implementation of GRC measures lets you cut down operational costs by identifying and eliminating low-value processes and areas of productivity wastage.
Lesser Repetitive Tasks
GRC consultants help you identify and automate repetitive, mundane processes that add minimum value to your strategic goals. This frees up your teams to focus on other priority tasks.
Improved Information Quality
A well-organized GRC strategy allows you to stay operational and manage risk better by regularly collecting necessary information, but it also improves the quality of your gathered data, improving your decision making.
Strong Market Reputation
Having a solid GRC framework also lets you stay compliant with industry regulations and manage corporate risks better. This improves your market reputation and instills client trust in your service.
Better Resource Utilization
Having holistic information about your company processes, security and compliance lets you allocate or utilize resources in a better way, avoid repetition, and find the right direction for your business.
Implementing GRC Strategy in Your Business
1. Define Clearly What You Want to Achieve
This might seem like an obvious step when implementing GRC measures. But, you must be surprised that most businesses fail in their GRC efforts due to this one reason. As GRC is a broader framework you need to exactly know why you want to implement it. What is that business area you want to bring in meaningful change? Knowing the ultimate goal behind your GRC initiative is a must before you move ahead.
2. Set Roles and Responsibilities
Once you have a transformation goal in mind, you need to involve the right set of people for effective GRC implementation. Also, remember that GRC affects your entire business and employees- right from entry-level staff to C-suite professionals. It’s not the responsibility of a single team or department. Everyone, including board members, senior leadership, IT leaders, product leaders, and developers has roles to play when you talk about GRC execution. The most important entity in this entire group is your senior management staff. CEO and Board of Directors should provide strategic oversight while CIOs, CFOs, and VPs should look after the operational side of things in your GRC plan.
3. Assess your Current Position and Risks
Once you’ve set the GRC roles, it’s time you analyze your current position: what’s happening right now in the compliance, risk management, and compliance sphere in your business before you announce any change. Analyze what’s working and what needs to change. Effective risk management should also provide you a clear picture of your existing business landscape. You need to identify the “who, what, where, when, and how” of your daily operations before introducing any change as part of risk assessment. Your existing risks, regulations, and vendor relationships will also shift when you announce the change.
4. Pick a Trail Entry Point
Rolling out GRC directly across your entire business is never a good idea. For smaller companies, it might look like the only option, but ideally, you should choose an entry point to test your GRC strategy before rolling it out. Once you identify the target area, channelize all your energy and resources there, and analyze the results for improving your GRC strategy after its roll-out across the organization.
5. Set Clear Policies
GRC also means to stay compliant to certain industry certifications like SOC2 and ISO. Before you pursue any compliance certifications, you need to establish certain policies and guidelines to set things right. Some of the important documents and policies that you need to establish are as follows:
- Code of Conduct/Employee handbook
- Information Security Policy
- Employee On-boarding/Off-boarding procedure
- Incentives Plan
- Communication/Training Policy
- Incident management and response plan
6. Conduct a Formal Audit
Consider the implementation of every security framework and compliance standard in your business as part of your wider GRC strategy. You should follow all the above steps right from defining goals, identifying the right people, performing risk assessment to documenting the entire work before reaching the adult stage. At this stage, you can use a wide range of GRC auditing tools/resources to test your GRC framework You can also use custom auditing tools by teaming up with an experienced enterprise software development company for better results.
Top GRC Solutions for Improving Business Efficiency
There are a wider number of GRC tools that you can use for improving the effectiveness of your governance, risk management, and compliance strategy. Some of the popular tools include GRC software, virtual CISO services, user management software, and so on. All of these cloud-based tools bring automation into GRC processes; thereby, increases efficiency and reduces complexity. You can also request custom solutions as per your business needs from a GRC software solution provider like A3logics. Reach out to us today to know how we can help your business stay compliant and secure.